Dana Rivers: Oakland triple homicide suspect appears in court

OAKLAND (KTVU) -- A court-appointed defense attorney will be assigned to a San Jose transgendered woman who appeared in court Wednesday in connection with the slaying last week at an east Oakland home, an attack that left a couple and their adult son dead and the family's home set ablaze, authorities said.

Dana Rivers, 61, appeared in an Alameda County courtroom wearing a red jumpsuit and said little during the proceeding. The judge set a date in December for Rivers to officially enter a plea. Rivers was in court just a few hours after Alameda County prosecutors released documents providing more details about the triple slaying.

Rivers is facing several charges in the Nov. 11 attack n the 9400 block of Dunbar Drive, including multiple felony murder charges, arson and use of a deadly weapon.

The bodies of Patricia Wright, 57, and her partner, Charlotte Reed, 56, were found in the home they shared with Toto "Benny" Diambu, 19, who was their adopted son. He was found outside suffering from a stab wound. Investigators have said Wright and Reed were shot and killed inside the home before it was set on fire.

Rescue workers were treating Diambu outside after arriving on scene. During their efforts to save Diambu, investigators said they heard a loud noise before seeing Rivers walking out of the home while covered in blood.

Khari Campbell-Wright said his brother “Benny” was an aspiring nurse and was attempting to change his life in the days leading up to his slaying. 

“He had an infectious smile,” Campbell-Wright said. “He was a great kid. He did well in school.”

Investigators say the dispute between Rivers and the couple may have stemmed from a property dispute but police have not publicly revealed a motive for the slayings.

According to documents released by prosecutors, Rivers used a gun and knife during the attack. She was also found with metal knuckles after she was questioned by investigators.

In an interview Wednesday with KTVU, Khari Campbell-Wright, the biological son of Patricia Wright, said he was in Atlanta, Georgia when the slayings occurred. He said he did not live at the residence but added that his mother was a "great woman" and a "great educator."

"We had a great relationship.”

Despite the pain he is in, he said he holds no hard feelings toward the person responsible for the killings.

“I forgive the person that did it,” he added. “I have no hard feelings. It's in God's hands. You can't control the things that happen in life.”


Campbell-Wright said he had met the suspect but doesn't know what could have triggered the fatal attacks.

According to reports, Rivers had worked as a school teacher in a suburban Sacramento  school district for several years. The educator, who then lived as a male, was let go from the district after telling administrators about her plans to undergo sexual reassignment surgery.

KTVU reporters Paul Chambers and Cristina Rendon contributed to this report.